About the Candidate
Name: Bill Foster
DOB: Oct. 7, 1955
Occupation: Scientist and businessman
Political Experience: Current U.S. Representative (IL-11) since 2013; Served as U.S. Representative (IL-14) from 2008 to 2011
Hi, I’m Bill Foster. I’m a scientist, businessman, and I’m proud to represent the 11th Congressional District of Illinois in the US House of Representatives. A district that includes vibrant and diverse communities like Aurora, Joliet, Naperville, and Bolingbrook.
I am asking for your vote to return to Congress because we have so much work to do - in large part to undo the damage done by the Trump administration - -to our economy, to our health, to our democracy and the rule of law over the past three and a half years.
As the only Ph.D. Scientist in Congress, I also have to address grappling with the scientific and technological issues we face such as Climate Change and Cybersecurity, in an increasingly partisan atmosphere where scientific facts and logic are often ignored.
As a member of Congress, I serve on the House Select Committee on the Coronavirus Response as we respond to this devastating pandemic. I’m working to ensure that the voice of science and reason is being heard in our response to COVID, and that the trillions of dollars that Congress have allocated to help protect American workers and their families during this pandemic, is actually going where it was intended.
And I am also working to make sure that future progress on vaccines and therapeutics is based on science and facts, and not wishful thinking or political interference by the administration.
Finally, my family’s background serves as my guidepost on the important social issues of the day. My father was a civil Rights lawyer, who wrote much of the enforcement language behind the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
And that is why I have been such a strong advocate for reforming our criminal justice system, for marriage equality, equal pay for equal work, a woman’s right to choose and a woman’s access to birth control, – all of which are important issues at stake in this election.
So, I am asking for your vote to return to Congress, to protect and extend our economic recovery, and to make an economy and a society that works for all Americans.
Why are you running?
I have been proud to represent the 11th Congressional District of Illinois since 2013. This district includes Aurora, Joliet, and Naperville - the second, third, and fourth largest cities in Illinois. One of the features of this district that makes it such a special place is its diversity and how we work together to build communities that people seek out to live in, work in, and raise families in. It is my honor to stand up for the people that call the 11th District home and be their voice in the U.S. Congress.
I am proud of my record of advocating for policies that benefit the people of our district such as expanding health care coverage, common sense gun legislation to make our communities safer, robust funding for scientific research that is vital to economic growth and combating the grave threat of climate change, legislation aimed at building an economy that works for everyone, and protections for DREAMers who have known no other home than America and deserve to know they are welcome here - just to name a few.
Unfortunately, a lot of the progress we’ve made over the years has been threatened because of President Trump and his allies in Congress. We’ve also seen this President try to divide our communities through bigotry, racism, and fear. I reject this type of politics. It does not reflect the values of our district and I am committed to working each and every day to stand against it and to help turn the page so that America can once again move forward, together.
What is your vision for this office?
The most important job I have is to listen to my constituents. That’s why beyond my work in Washington, I try and interact as much as I can with the people I represent. Over the past year I’ve hosted many town halls in person, over the phone, and virtually to hear from constituents on a variety of issues. I have attended hundreds of community events and met with dozens of individuals and groups in my district offices to discuss a wide range of policies and concerns.
This is a consistent pattern of my time in Congress because I believe the people I represent should have the ability to tell me how they feel about issues important to them and their families, and it’s something I will continue to do as long as I have the honor of serving them.
As the only PhD physicist in Congress I also have a unique responsibility for ensuring that we develop policies on the basis of facts and logic. This has become doubly important during the COVD-19 pandemic. Our nation is paying a fearful price for President Trump’s willful disregard of scientific principles and expert advice. I have also introduced and supported science-based policies for medically assisted opioid treatment, energy research to increase the penetration of renewable electricity sources into our electric grid, and increasing research into quantum computing, artificial intelligence, and carbon-free power sources.
What do you think is the most pressing issue facing your constituents and how do you plan on addressing it?
I continue to believe that healthcare is a basic human right and that we should continue to move towards universal coverage while lowering out-of-pocket costs. This has become especially important as millions of Americans have lost healthcare coverage during the COVID-19 pandemic. Voting for the Affordable Care Act in 2010 remains one of my proudest votes in Congress and I believe we need to continue to strengthen and expand the ACA. I believe we should introduce a robust public option to the health insurance marketplace to provide people with a low-cost, high-quality competitive alternative to private insurance plans. I voted for a public option in the original House-passed ACA and continue to support it today. In the current Congress I voted for H.R. 3 which would lower prescription drug costs by price negotiation and capping drug prices charged by manufacturers. Further expanding eligibility for Medicaid is another important step we can take to continue to build on the progress of the ACA and get us to universal coverage.
It’s unfortunate that the ACA has been a target for repeal and weakening by President Trump and congressional Republicans who would like to see us return to a time when insurance companies could deny coverage to people with pre-existing conditions. This would be a grave mistake for the health and well-being of the American people and I am committed to defending the ACA from these attacks.
Beyond quality health care coverage, we must support investment in medical research, including detection and treatment options for chronic diseases like diabetes and Alzheimer’s. We need to continue to aggressively fight the opioid epidemic that has cost too many lives, and the best way to do that is by supporting expanded treatment options for those struggling with substance-use disorder, including evidence-based medically- assisted treatments.